Experience since MDP’s formation shows that one of the major impediments to full decentralisation and effective service delivery of municipalities is the absence of enabling environments  


The objectives of this component  

  • To facilitate the adoption and implementation of policies and legislation in favour of decentralisation and appropriate fiscal and functional assignments between central and local governments
  • To promote policy analysis and dialogue that identifies opportunities and constraints for local government sector reform
  • To facilitate exchange of information and consensus building on policy issues among key stakeholders of municipal development.
  • To support adoption of local integrity practices in municipal governance.
  • To promote democracy in the governance of municipalities.
  • To support analysis of policies on human development for municipalities, including urban poverty alleviation.


 Develop policies and strategies of fiscal, functional, and political decentralisation.
 Establish local integrity systems,  Support local government restructuring including:  

  1. promoting participatory development and democratic governance 
  2. rationalising organisational structure as well as functions and roles. 
  3. rationalising local government revenue and expenditure; and 
  4. incorporating poverty, gender, and environmental perspectives.

Implementation Strategy

The component will promote capacity building, informed dialogue, policy design, and reform based on establishing fora founded on high-quality discussion papers.  A series of strategic technical and high-level policy workshop round-tables (or high-level seminars) will be convened by MDP to facilitate dialogue and. consensus building among the stakeholders who are key actors on policy issues.  The round-tables will build on each other to ensure impact and contribute to a regional and Pan-African forum as in AFRICITIES 2000 and the African Fiscal Decentralisation Forum.  The participants will be drawn from among ministers, parliamentarians, mayors, and senior officials. Representatives of civil society will also be involved. These activities will be based on policy studies and research findings developed since the establishment of MDP. The policy recommendations and follow up actions from the provisions seminars and the new activities will form part of the background ground papers at such seminars so as to improve on replicating experiences. MDP will also come up with successful practices and case studies on themes to be implemented.

A deliberate effort should be made to ensure that relevant documented policy recommendations and successful practices made at regional seminars are also available to participants of national policy workshops to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort. Participating governments will be requested to produce summary papers on the state of policy and their concrete plans on what is to be done address the constrains and create opportunities for local government development.

Action research is a key and fundamental dimension of MDP and will build on six years of research experience.  MDP will emphasise a strategic approach that kinks research findings to policy decisions and capacity building through training and institutional strengthening.  The research will emphasise a multidisciplinary approach as well as participation of beneficiaries to ensure maximum utilisation of findings and recommendations.  The research will cut across sub-programs and activities. Carry over research activities under Phase II will provide a smooth transition into a new research cycle.  The principal areas of research for Phase III will include, among others:

  1. inter-governmental fiscal relations,
  2. capacity building for local government,
  3. gender balance in local governing,
  4. local integrity systems,
  5. decentralised and international municipal co-operation, and
  6. poverty alleviation and municipal governance

MDP will continue to undertake regional and country-based initiatives in good governance focusing on issues that have immediate positive impact and high level of demand from the municipal governments.  Special focus will be placed on developing the African Municipal Integrity Initiative (AMII) which will assist in the preparation, implementation, and evaluation of national and municipal integrity programs. AMII will provide regional, national, and sub-national workshops on local integrity to promote capacity as well as motivate municipal governments to undertake reforms and build transparent and accountable local service provision.

 Expected Impact

The synergy Of Policy studies and seminars on a continuum basis will lead to a better. appreciation and possible commitment of policy makers to adopt appropriate frameworks and action plans. Results should include innovations, participatory and integrated approaches to local government, and reform of financing of services including inter-governmental fiscal relations.  Overall, a facilitative environment for local government shall be created resulting in an improved level of service delivery and better quality of life.


  • Policy frameworks strengthening the capacities, role, and status of municipalities in service delivery and local government in general will be adopted. 
  • Dialogue based on policy papers, reports, and publications on the state of decentralisation and governance of local government in Eastern and Southern Africa will be enhanced. 
  • Successful practices on local government policy development and management in the region will be adopted and adapted. 
  • Tools and techniques applied in urban policy research and city consultations on municipal issues will be improved.
     Restructured local government systems including local integrity stems will be adopted by a number of reform-minded municipal leaders in the focus countries. 
  • Clarity in defining decentralisation strategies and programs and the capacity to implement these in a sustainable manner will be improved. 
  • Participatory and democratic practices will be adopted by reform-minded municipalities.


Background Information to  the Research

Policy Briefs

  1. Special Issue 7A: The Role of Public-Private Partnership in Enhancing Local Government Service Delivery: The Case of Solid Waste Management (SWM) in Nairobi Kenya by Anne Karanja and Rose Okoth.
  2. Special Issue 7B: Decentralization of Social Welfare Services to Urban Local Authorities in Zimbabwe: A Case Study of Marondera Municipality  by Takawira Mubvami and Ardmore Nhekairo.
  3. Special issue 7C: Public Procurement and Local Economic Development in South Africa by Prof Chris M Rogerson and Pieter Vorster
  4. Special issue 7D: Local Government  in the Context of New Management Arrangements for Water Supply Systems in Small Towns in Uganda by Dr Denis Muhangi and Polly A Mugisha
  5. Special Issue 7E: Viable Strategies for Achieving Value for Money towards Improving the Service Delivery Capacity of local Government Systems in Ethiopia: The Case of the Kemmissie Municipality and Dire Dawa Council by S Tsegaye and T Gedif
  6. Special Issue 7F: Assessing the Impact of HIV/AIDS Epidemic on Municipalities’ Capacity to Deliver Quality Service and Fight Poverty in Tanzania by F Kamuzora and C Lyimo
  7. Special Issue 7 G: Strengthening Public-Private Partnership in Decentralized Health Service Delivery Systems the Case of Uganda by A Nuwagaba and D Mwesigwa

Research Material: Year 2001 and Before

  1. Decentralisation In Botswana
  2. Decentralisation In Uganda
  3. Decentralisation In Zambia
  4. Decentralisation In Zimbabwe
  5. Decentralisation Individual Country Reports Presented At Ministers’ Conference
  6. The Victoria Falls Declaration
  7. Environmental Management & Poverty Alleviation – Dar Es Salaam Case Study
  8. Publication Of Local Economic Devt. Edited By Conyers
  9. Publication On Solid Waste Management Edited By Conyers
  10. Publication Vic Falls Conference1-A
  11. Publication Vic Falls Conference1-B
  12. Rubindamayugi Final Report-2  2001
  13. Summary Of Workshop Report1
  14. Vic Falls Ministers’ Conference Report
  15. Policy Brief No. 2 October 2001 Environmental Management and Poverty Alleviation in Peri-Urban 2. Settlements


The Research on Access to Land for Urban Agriculture for the Urban Poor  2002-2004

  1. Background Information
  2. Workshop Proceedings report Ministers of Local Government in Eastern and Southern Africa August 2003.
  3. Harare Declaration on Urban Agriculture by Ministers of Local Government in Eastern and Southern Africa August 2003.
  4. Methodological Workshop on the Access to Land Project: Kampala, Uganda 10-12 September 2002- Workshop  Proceedings Report.
  5. Nyanga Declaration on Urban Agriculture in Zimbabwe June 2002

Publications prior to the year 2002

  1. Proceedings Of The MDP/IDRC Workshop On The Political Economy Of Urban And Peri-Urban Agriculture In Eastern And Southern Africa
  3. Urban Agriculture Information, Communication and Training  Needs Participatory Assessments in Eastern and Southern Africa [Botswana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe]: Terms of Reference for the Consultancy on Urban Agriculture Information, Communication and Training Needs in Eastern and Southern Africa
  4. Urban Agriculture in Action

National Workshops

  1. Botswana-UA workshop Saturday May 26th to Wednesday May 30th
  2. National Consultative Seminar On The Status Of Urban Agriculture In Zimbabwe And Identification Of Information, Training And Communication Needs 20th June 2001
  3. Programme of the UA National workshop – Harare
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